Quick tips for growing beets
Beets (known to some people as beetroots) come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Best grown from seed, you can grow beets that are round, long or flat. They can be deep purple, red, pink, white, orange, yellow, or banded with colors. The newer varieties tend to be sweeter than the older, red ones, but which you like is a matter of taste.
Like other root crops, pull seedlings that grow too close together to allow space for each plant to grow wide at the shoulders without bumping into a neighbor. Beet seeds often contain more than one seed inside so it is common for what looks like a single seed to grow two or more seedlings next to each other. Thin to just one. Thinnings do not like to be transplanted so don’t bother trying to rescue them. Since germination can be spotty, it is better to plant beets generously and then thin.
Good soil with plenty of compost kept moist will keep them happily growing with as much sunshine as possible. On stony or clay soils round beets will grow better than the deeper rooted varieties. Like other root crops, harvest them before they start to flower in their second year (typical biennials) or the roots will become stringy and tough.
An extra benefit to growing beets are the beet greens. All varieties grow edible, spinach-like leaves, although there are also varieties that are cultivated more for their leaves than their roots. Pick the young leaves and cook them the same as chard or spinach. Leaves are rich in iron and beet roots are filled with vitamins. Beets are colorful, nourishing and easy to grow in the home garden.
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